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Suggest Questions for Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan’s September 24th lecture at the Kohl Center, “In Defense of Food: The Omnivore’s Solution,” is free and open to all. We hope you’ll attend and invite anyone you know who might be interested.

Due to the scale of the Kohl Center event, the question and answer period will be moderated. Questions should be suggested in writing by September 21st. The moderator will select a representative group of questions and ask them of Michael Pollan at the event.

If you would like to suggest a question, please post it as a comment to this blog post. Please also consider including some very brief information about yourself.

Please note: Details of the 9/25 panel, now at the Wisconsin Union Theater, are here

The call for questions is now closed. Thanks to all for a great mix of topics and perspectives! You can read them below by clicking on “Comments.”

Sarah McDaniel
Go Big Read
gobigread@library.wisc.edu

195 thoughts on “Suggest Questions for Michael Pollan

  1. My name is Kristi Wood. I am a grad student in the UW-Madison's part-time Social Work program. I found your book to be full of information that I try to adhere to as I choose what to eat every day. The question that I have is this: in an area such as Madison, where we are fortunate to have an abundance of wonderful organic produce to choose from, not everyone can afford to eat organic all of the time. What are some suggestions you have to overcome this obstacle? If we need to limit our plant intake because of budgetary constraints,are there certain types of plants you place priority on?
    Thank you.

  2. My name is Aneidys Reyes. I have been a vegan for about three years now and have come across many opinions concerning how healthy it is, how sustainable it is and over-all whether it is "wrong" or "right." I was just hoping you could share some of your own opinions concerning vegan/vegetarian lifestyles. Thank you.

  3. A.G here, an undergrad in CALS. In your book you mentioned the phrase "Eat Food, Not too much, mostly plants" and also made connections to a forage diet, and having made that connection would like to ask you if you think foraging for food is a skill everyone should at least try to learn or posses.

  4. CALS grad here… Pollan is highly critical of synthetic fertilizers, yet to replace those nutrients, Nobel Prize winning Professor Norman Borlaug (recently deceased) estimates that it would take the manure of an additional 5 billion cows. My question, to all of you is how do you propose we replace the essential fertilizers currently used and how does that affect the carbon footprint.

  5. My name is Benjamin Klein, I am a grad student in the mass communication/journalism field. I was wondering if you could talk more about beverages. Specifically if there are any true health differences in tap/personally filtered waters opposed to bottled (excluding obvious environmental effects). And also your thoughts on the 100% pure juices in the market and what beverages are best to accompany meals in general?

  6. I recently enjoyed watching the PBS premier of "Botany of Desire" at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Do you have plans in the works for future documentaries based on your other books or perhaps on PolyFace Farms? Andrea Jones, Eater of Food!

  7. Carl, graduate, CALS. Mr. Pollan's work is an appeal to the essence of food and, in the larger sense, the essence of eating (i.e. sitting together at the dinner table, slowing down, etc.). As a metric for judging which foods to buy, Pollan suggests "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." My question is what does Mr. Pollan think of the fact that great-grandmother was a housewife who spent countless days preparing meals or preserving foods … can we (should we) and how do we get back to a "slower" meal without putting unnecessary time / labor burdens on women? Maybe the larger question is how do we slow down in the current American cultural context of speed, efficiency, and production?

  8. My name is Kelly Schuder, I am a sophomore majoring in Psychology. I feel that you've written a great book on our eating habits, mostly centered around our land-based agricultural practices, but have you ever considered exploring how we eat in regards to the sea? So many cultures and traditions are based around fishing, which seems to be collapsing by our practices. The complete collapse of the world fisheries by 2024 isn't something that's being talked about much, but I wonder if you would be interested in exploring how we "harvest" food from the other 71% of the Earth?

  9. My name is Jessica Steig, I am a junior majoring in Elementary Education. This fall I am taking a Botany class in which we are reading Pollan's "In Defense of Food". As I continue reading, I notice there are many "fake" foods mentioned. I am curious to learn the types of food besides simply plants that ARE healthy and good for us, according to Pollan. What does Pollan's diet consist of?

  10. Grad student here. Wisconsin has been known to be a dairy state with numerous German influence. I feel that Wisconsin heavily depends on the production of cheese, ice cream, sausages, and other products to sustain the state's economy. Since the state does not produce as many vegetables and fruits as California and other foreign countries, how can the state promote individuals to eat healthily and to maintain its economy at the same time?

    I have heard that plants are not a good source of proteins, and we need proteins to function. Many people thought of seafood as an alternative, which is healthier with more omega3. Instead of being vegetarian, should we not simply try to observe the food pyramid?

  11. One of the major reasons food scientists have been working in laboratories is to increase the yield of the product. This has become ever-more important as the population of the world has been growing tremendously. I was wondering how agriculture is to support all of these new mouths if we cannot produce enough food to feed them? Are Americans just supposed to sit here and do nothing to increase production while people in this world starve? I can understand questioning how people eat and making them understand what is happening with their food, but making farmers look like the bad guy is just wrong, go after the companies that are pushing the market, what the farmers produce, and what we ultimately eat. It is not the farmer's fault it is the big coorporations that run the food system. Farmers are just trying to make a living just as much as everyone else.

  12. My name is Jordan Simonson and I am in a Psychology 202 class. In this class we are discussing how stress can lead us to cope with our problems in a variety of ways. One of these ways is by eating, typically sweets and stuff that is bad for you. I was wondering if you think the best way to curb obesity in America is then to use methods of stress reduction or eating better or both?

  13. My name is Mike and I have produced pork for over 50 years. My question is: Modern pork production practices have virtually eliminated the trichinae issue in pork, yet recent studies (story published in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease by James E McWilliams) have found trichinae in free range pork and higher levels of salmonella when compared to pork raised using modern production practices. How can you be sure the way our grandparents raised food or free range produced food, would meet today's rigid food safety standards?

  14. If farmers and consumers did what you suggest in your book. How could a Wisconsin farm couple make an actual living (health insurance, college tuition, etc.) on their farm without off-farm income, and how could a low-to-medium class Madison couple afford to feed a family of four? — Casey Langan, Madison.

  15. Our nations universities are significant actors in reinforcing a reductionist and fragmented approach to knowledge and public policy. You are a member of a University faculty. Do you have ideas about how our universities might change to take a more wholistic approach to food systems, health, our economy and other broad challenges we face?

    Gerry Campbell, Professor Emeritus University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension

  16. Dear Michael,
    My name is Adam and I am a sophmore. We are currently reading your book "In Defense of Food" for my Botany/Ecology 260 class. I currently live in the UW Residence Halls, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions about healthy eating around campus seeing as our residence halls all have cafeterias and take-out places that are, although convenient, not too healthy for our eating habits. Students in the residence halls don't have many other choices as far as diversity in their diet and often find themselves eating processed cafeteria foods every day in these residence hall cafeterias. What do you suggest is a good moderation point or alternative approach?

  17. I was wondering what really influenced you to write this book. Are you personally affected by the way Americans eat. Another words, does someone close to you have diabetes or other health problems caused by their eating habits.

  18. In 1997, I was told by Doctors' that I would not be alive today because of having a Oligodendroglioma, which is Brain Cancer (left side). I was able to go to a Doctor in Michigan, His name is Dr. Robert Thomas and a Nutritionist, her name is Paula DuVall, to tell me that I have a chance to live, in 1997. I was on a vegan lifestyle for 8.5 years and in 2006, when I went to Madison(St Mary's)Hospital, Dr Carter told me to go on Tomotherapy, which I decided I wouldn't. I looked into a hospital, on the internet, to help get this thing out of me. I found one in Houston, TX (MD Anderson), 2006. But I found out by eating oil, salt, chicken and turkey, I found out that was not good for me, even if I had all my cancer removed, because oil still lingers in my brain and therefore it shows up 3 years later. This year (2009) I had a grand mal seizure, which the doctors' want me to have chemo, since I decided I wouldn't I went to my nutritionist and she told me to get anything out of my system-do a colonic-eat all fruits and veggies, grains and nuts and get rid of that seizure causing thing, so I'm back of fruits, veggies, grains and nuts. So in my 12.5 years of doing this Vegan is the best, without chemo or radiation!! Lots of juicing, lots of raw foods etc. I am trying to get my book wrote, but of course it's far from being done. How did you get to write your book? thanks

  19. In your book you recommend that people spend more time and money on their eating in order to get on track with a healthier eating regimen. To what extent do you think that the change in eating habits are the result of industry choices, and how much of an industry's choices are a result of the changing needs of a society?

  20. Mr. Pollan, thank you for illuminating the current state of food confusion in a book that is both informative and fun to read! I have a simple question: if you knew nothing of all the food hullabaloo, what would be your favorite food? Additionally, having learned all that you have, what is your current favorite food?

  21. In your book "In Defense of Food", you wrote that there are good environmental reasons to eliminate meat from one's diet. In the footnote that expained this, you wrote briefly about wasted water, and cited a United Nations study that states that livestock generates more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry(!). Two related questions:
    1) Roughly how much water does it take to produce a pound of protein from meat vs. plants? Ballpark figures are fine.
    2) I've heard it's mostly cattle (dairy and beef) that produce these greenhouse gases… are grass-fed cattle any better, and if so, by how much?

    Thanks!

    P.S. I'd love to read a whole book about how to eat that's best for people AND the planet (hint, hint).

  22. Besides voting with our forks, what can we do to force food companies to LABEL all imitation food-like substances, additives/preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms? How do we even begin to limit the power of big business lobbies (from chemical, biotech, and food companies)? – Not everyone will have the literacy skills or resources to read Pollan's books and access only local, sustainably grown, whole food.

  23. Hi, Michael. I am a grad student in journalism.

    What are your thoughts on the Obama administration's push towards ecologically and socially responsible food? Can programs like the USDA's "Know your farmer, know your food" initiative succeed even as the government continues to support big, industrial agriculture?

  24. Mr. Pollan, I am a senior at UW-Madison and I grew up in a very small farming community. My grandparents on both sides farmed, and I ate many delicious home-cooked meals on grandma's table. I also learned about food production there. My grandparents dedicated over 40 years of their lives to farming. Grandma still talks about how every year they worked hard to learn about new ways to better feed the cows (GMO crops) and keep them healthy (antibiotics). They embraced technology to create a more wholesome product. Grandma said she fears the idea of going back to the "old days" of farming (a way she still remembers clearly) because she knows how much work it took to get where we are today and how much better our food is because of that toil. What would you say to justify your reasoning to people who have spent a lifetime providing wholesome food to their neighbors, community and state? –Andrea Bloom

  25. Dylan Wilbur, Communication Arts Major in my 4th year. I'm quite interested in hearing more about the pleasure and joy that can be found in eating. I find that the entirety of our problems with food in America is encapsulated in how our view of chocolate cake differs from the French. What steps do you think can be taken to reconnect the American people with their palate? How can we convince ourselves that food is a "celebration" we are lucky enough to experience 3 (if not more) times a day?

  26. What kind of career or educational path do you envision for those of us interested in transforming our food system? How can we affect food policy?

  27. Michael,
    I am a 50 year old who in the past 2 years has decided to change my diet and exercise habits as I enter my next "phase" of life. I am trying to adopt many of the prinicipals you list and feel I have more energy and probably look better than I did when I was in my 20's and 30's. My question is this, is it too late? Will these changes have a positive impact and help me avoid the diseases of the "western diet"? Thanks! Deb

  28. While I found the information you present in both "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dilemma" fascinating, and each certainly provided fodder for my own beliefs, I also recognize I am already a "part of the choir," so to speak. And I perceive that many of your readers are the same. How do you speak to those that aren't yet "converted"? In other words, what do you think is an effective way to reach people who are reluctant or adverse to the ideas you are proposing?

  29. Reading your book prompted me to change the way I eat. Now I only eat meat that is local and organic, as well as local produce, but I have not been able to wean myself off of coffee. Madison, obviously, does not have the climate to farm coffee beans. I feel bad about drinking coffee because of the amount of miles is takes to to be imported, but I'm addicted. The majority of the coffee I drink is fair trade. Do you think fair trade very sustainable? What is your take on it?

  30. Mr. Pollan, you assail the modern food system for its use of chemicals, fertilizers, technology, and even the use of fossil fuels. My question is, "Can you paint for me your ideal agricultural utopia, that will feed the world's population?"

    Al Schultz, UW Grad

  31. I'm a second year graduate student in the sciences who grew up in a small town in Alaska. Although I really did enjoy many aspects of your book, I was wondering if you had any suggestions on ways that people living in areas that aren't ideal to farm or grow vegetables in can adapt their eating habits. Most of the native Alaskan cultures have left, or are moving away from their subsistence life styles, and filling the nutritional void with processed and shelf-stable foods (because they keep well as they are transported the 2000 miles to Alaska). Vegetables that are available are very expensive, and often not fresh. What do you think is the ideal change to move people away from processed foods? Eating vegetables shipped from thousands of miles away? Or depending heavily on the land?

  32. Tying in with the beverage question above, while your book talked about alcohol, what about caffeine? Obviously energy drinks and concentrated caffeine products would be cut out by the great-grandmother rule, but do you have any ideas about how caffeinated coffee and tea should be integrated into a healthy diet, and whether like alcohol they might interact with other foods?

  33. Why do you suppose there isn't a larger market for fresh whole foods instead of overly processed ones? It seems that there is a profit to be made with fresh, whole foods. It seems counter intuitive that a loaf of bread with 31 ingredients is cheaper to make than a loaf with three or four ingredients. Can you explain to me how it's still cost effective to ADD so many things to something that should be so simple and fairly inexpensive as a loaf of bread?
    Thank you, Carol Warden UW grad student

  34. I am a UW alumna with a farm background. Thanks to the UW for providing such a forum for this critical issue. Our national food system and the policies that shape it have evolved slowly over the last 70 years or so. Many of our national policies (such as commodity programs)were put in place around the time of the Great Depression, to address farm income disparities. Technological advances and predatory pricing in agriculture – beef, chicken, even vegetables – has led to concentration in agriculture unforeseen by those early policy-makers.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the system is broken and needs a major overhaul, especially when it comes to federal investment in both agriculture and health. As with any complex system though, one starts messing with it and the system can respond in highly chaotic ways.

    It is increasingly clear why we must change the system. Given that we are talking food, though, wouldn't it be prudent to invest in systems modeling to reduce the risk of system collapse and point a way forward? Are there any farmers, citizens, economists and ecologists working on this? If we were to dismantle commodity farm supports, what would the timeline be? How do we take the first few steps? Who are the political leaders? Where is the plan?

  35. In Dane County (which includes Madison), 47 percent of the elementary students receive subsidized lunches at school. What kind of eating, shopping, and other advice would you give these families?

  36. How can I help my conservative/republican parents (who are fans of Fox News) understand that a change toward eating locally-grown organic whole foods is necessary. They think the organic movement is a scam. I highly doubt they would read your books or accept any scientific data that comes from what they call "liberal brainwashing universities." How can I get through to them???

  37. As a scientist trained in the biochemistry department at this university, where the irradiation process for production of vitamin D led to the elimination of rickets, and where niacin was first isolated, leading to the elimination of pellagra, I am naturally somewhat defensive of "reductionist" science, as I know it has saved many lives and improved the health of many more. In your opinion, how should nutritional and biochemical scientists focus their CURRENT efforts to improve nutrition?

  38. When you describe nutritionism as an ideology and not a science, and then later go on to say that these nutrients are 'invisible' and 'mysterious' what exactly are you implying by this, that in fact these nutrients don't really exist? You continue by saying 'the visible world is not the one that really matters' but is that in fact the principle behind nutritionism? Couldn't it also be explained as the science not ideology of what we are actually putting in our bodies, and as the microscopic level of what we eat at the macroscopic level?

  39. Biology professor here. Having seen much pesticide abuse by growers trying to control plant virus diseases, I wonder if you'd comment on the use of virus-immune GMO crops. I'm no big-ag enthusiast, but this seems like an example of good GMO technology. It solves a problem more effectively and with less environmental impact than traditional methods. But such crops don't meet organic standards and many real-food purists would spurn them. Do you agree that *all* GMO crops should be banned from organic farming?

  40. I am a senior UW student who grew up on my family's mid-sized dairy farm and am quite familiar with production agriculture. How can organic crop production be sustainable when soil losses due to erosion can be as much as 10 times greater than acceptable levels? Not to mention the extra fossil fuels used (and carbon dioxide given off) by the extra passes the farmer must make through the field since tillage is one of the only means of weed control. While I agree that we need to be cautious when using pesticides, they can be a valuable tool in growing safe and quality crops.

  41. My name is Ariela and I am studying to become a Registered Dietician. In you book, you argue that people should eat a more diverse diet, which I agree with. But I believe you contradict yourself when you also say that people should eat a "traditional diet." The traditional Mexican and Inuit diets you laud, for example, are very limited. My question is, which do you think is more important – that people eat diets that are "traditional" or that they eat diets that are Diverse?

  42. What is your opinion on why people are becoming more physically resistant to weight loss?

  43. Nick Utphall, local Lutheran pastor:

    "In Defense of Food" seemed to me largely to focus on what happens inside my body and very tangentially or secondarily on what that does to the global environment around me. (Soil life was a notable exception.) What do you say about how to balance health as an individual with that necessary component of health that is our planet? (The answer may be as simple as "Read 'Omnivore's Dilemma.'")

  44. I teach a first-year course in the College of Engineering. This is a question from some of my students: What is the role of the food industry — including companies such as Kraft Foods and General Mills — in a food system that supports healthy eating rather than the Western diet?

  45. As a scientist trained in the biochemistry department at this university, where the irradiation process for production of vitamin D led to the elimination of rickets, and where niacin was first isolated, leading to the elimination of pellagra, I am naturally somewhat defensive of "reductionist" science, as I know it has saved many lives and improved the health of many more. In your opinion, how should nutritional and biochemical scientists focus their CURRENT efforts to improve nutrition?

  46. I found interesting points in your book, In Defense of Food, that have made me examine what I eat. On page 93, you cite “the chances that a sixty- or seventy-year-old suffers from cancer or type 2 diabetes are far greater today than they were a century ago." I began to wonder if the reported reason for death in 1900 was not as reliable as today. Possibly, the knowledge and capability to diagnose these diseases was not as advanced as today, which can skew this comparison. Is this a legitimate issue to consider?

  47. What are the proven attributes of organic production that make it better than conventional agriculture? Must organic production be "non industrial" to meet Mr. Pollan's criteria?

  48. Pollan dismisses many food scientists and nutritionism. Where's the same rigor and scrutiny being applied to organic? Who or what says that is better and why should we trust them? Could it be that organic is the next Fad based on some theory that is ultimately disproven?

  49. My name is Kayla Blado and I am a sophomore. You stress in "Omnivore's Dilemma" that it is important to eat locally. In the summer, I eat produce from my garden and shop at Farmers' Markets and freeze or can what I'm able to. The winters in Wisconsin aren't conducive to gardening or fresh produce. What is the healthiest and most sustainable way to eat in the winter?

  50. Earlier this month the world remembered the life and legacy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, "The Man Who Fed The World". Dr. Borlaug stated in 2000: "I now say the world has the technology available – or research in the pipeline to feed, on a sustainable basis, 10 billion people. The pertinent question today is whether farmers and ranchers will be able to use this technology?" Dr. Borlaug went on to warned the world of the environmental ideologues and "fashionable elitist" who have never gone hungry. Is not Michael Pollan's ideology "In Defense of Food" and his earlier books overly simplistic if not dangerous?

    Without using available and new technologies of tomorrow, how does Michael Pollan suggest we feed an additional 80 million people a year? Do we not have a moral obligation to use our talents and technologies, as Dr. Borlaug did, to feed the world?

    Richard Gorder, dairy farmer, Vice President WFBF.

  51. I was very sad to see that #2 things to do advises not to eat out. As a small business owner in a struggling economy, we are still doing everything we can to support our local farmers by buying fresh produce and baked goods from our farmers’ market, as well as supporting Grateful Growers (a local farm) for our pork products.We are struggling to do this and to still keep our prices within a decent range.Please don’t try and put small restaurants out of business in an effort to save the farmers. Believe me, on a Saturday morning, there are many chefs trolling the market and buying in quantity from the local farmers.
    Your Suggestion will be appreciated.

  52. Hi…
    This is Martine Argent. I am a plant genetics graduate student. I have just gone the vegan way. I am looking forward to people like me on their opinions on sustenance and benefits of 100% vegan way.

  53. Really enjoyed the read, thanks. I'm still working on losing weight, do you think I should take a look at any supplements as well?

  54. Hi,

    It is not really proven if being vegan is right or wrong. But I think these discussions are exteremely important as it creates a kind of demand in people to reconsider what they eat. I am a European and overweight is a serious problem here (and other problems that are due to wrong eating habits). But I have to say – and please do believe me that I do not want to hurt anyone – that I was completely shocked when I saw it how many people are suffering from being extremely overweight in the US.

  55. I read your book and I would not hesitate to say it is a nice book. However as we live in a globalization era that majority of the foods are being served in a "fast food" manners and a lot of time it is just impossible to find a healthy foods around my workplace. any solution to that?

  56. My daughter is a vegan. She does well with it, but she's always wanting to eat at rabbit friendly restaurants – not so good for the meat-eaters in the family.

  57. Is being a vegan really healthy especially in cold climates, i remember a documentary I watched sometime back, and there was a man who had herd some deers in a cold climate (it was snowing) and the leader was concerned for this man, because he was not eating meat and that his body would not be able to heat itself enough, so he was left behind.

  58. Very interesting debate. I think everything in the world has it's place and people have the freedom to choose what foods they wish to eat. That is what makes us unique.

  59. I do believe that a diet should be about what you eat i.e. healthy food, not about what you should not be eating. I agree that most diets do not succeed at anything but fattening wallets that belong to someone else.

    I believe that the success of weight loss is to a very great extent a state of mind. By focusing on you weight loss or losing weight you bring your inner being's attention to weight which at best means you hang on to weight and at worst means gaining more weight. It is this state of mind that causes dieters to lose weight and then gain it right back at the end of the diet.

    We need to refocus from, I want to lose weight. to something like, I want a strong, healthy body that is slender and energetic? The former statement drives us to starving ourselves; an action that causes the body to try to hang on to the weight. The latter causes us to look to a diet of healthy food, to both aerobic and resistance exercising and in essence changing our life style is sustainable and thus has no boomerang effect of gaining the weight back.

  60. I like the above posts, especially Will Jensen's post (enlightening) and Kurtis Kintzel's post (funny).

    The argument that eating 5 meals per day is better than two meals per day for a faster metabolic rate is logical, but it doesn't seem to work for me. When I eat twice a day, I lose body fat and when I eat five I balloon up.

    Any suggestions?

  61. I myself eat what I want, but I don't leave my health to degrade with too much junk that I take in. I try to find time to punish myself with exercise whenever I indulge in too much food especially fatty ones.

  62. I also eat mainly what I want, although I have been eating 5 meals a day under 400 calories per meal and that really does work well. I do it like this 1st, 3rd, and 5th, meals are around 400 calories. The 2nd and 4th meals are just snacks around 100 calories. Alcohol is by far the worst thing you can do to you body. If you do a diet like this during the week and drink during the weekend your shooting yourself in the foot.

  63. My name is Aneidys Reyes. I have been a vegan for about three years now and have come across many opinions concerning how healthy it is, how sustainable it is and over-all whether it is "wrong" or "right." I was just hoping you could share some of your own opinions concerning vegan/vegetarian lifestyles. Thank you.

  64. Although the event is over, I have to say that the lecture by Michael Pollan is definitely debatable due to its topic. The truth is that many just do know the importance of choosing the foods that we consume. There have been the issue of heart diseases, obesity and so on but the bottom line is, if we were to take in everything in moderation, plus we also choose the foods that we consume, this kind of problems will most likely be minimized and also prevented.

  65. My name is Kayla Blado and I am a sophomore. You stress in "Omnivore's Dilemma" that it is important to eat locally. In the summer, I eat produce from my garden and shop at Farmers' Markets and freeze or can what I'm able to. The winters in Wisconsin aren't conducive to gardening or fresh produce. What is the healthiest and most sustainable way to eat in the winter?

  66. Hi Michael,

    I read a lot about nutrition and try to follow as much as possible . Currently I am in small town of Alaska and I was wondering if you had any suggestions on ways that people living in areas that aren't ideal to farm or grow vegetables in can adapt their eating habits. Most of the native Alaskan cultures have left, or are moving away from their subsistence life styles, and filling the nutritional void with processed and shelf-stable foods . Vegetables that are available are very expensive, and often not fresh. what do you suggest in this situation ?

  67. What kind of career or educational path do you envision for those of us interested in transforming our food system? How can we affect food policy?

  68. I still eat meat. But I eat a lot less. I have enormous respect for vegetarians, but I believe there are ways to eat meat that are good for you and good for the environment.

    What's your guiltiest pleasure, and how do you rationalize it?

  69. The increased amount of population is a concern that is greatly influencing farming techniques for third world countries. The risks involved with organic farming may not be worth the benefits that it brings because it could mean more people will go hungry.

  70. I also still eat meat. I can't even fathom eating only veges. My say is, hey, if you're hungry and broke, you can't be a picky eater. We are omnivores after all.

  71. Hi my name is J Kirk Feiereisen. I believe very strongly in a net positive social and economic value created by organic and fair trade consumer consciousness. All we can do is the best we know how, and dialogues like these are crucial to creating the utmost human experience possible.

  72. I realize this event has already taken place but people still seem to be debating so I'll join in. what I don't understand is why is the Government not promoting vegetarianism? very high up people in science, health and geological positions have written articles saying that we MUST reduce our meat consumption, but yet the Government has not passed any legislation. there are government funded TV adverts against racism, obesity, domestic abuse, drug use, alcohol consumption, child abuse etc. because the Government recognizes these are all harmful. Yet, they have done nothing to Tell people meat is harmful, or instead of attacking the meat industry (seen as the government gets a lot of funding from the meat industry) at least promote vegetarian foods!

  73. I recently enjoyed watching the PBS premier of "Botany of Desire" at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Do you have plans in the works for future documentaries based on your other books or perhaps on PolyFace Farms? Andrea Jones, Eater of Food!

  74. I go to the gym 5 days a week to try to stay in shape, but like you, I also think it is about what we do eat, not what we don't. I try to limit myself from eating processed foods as much as possible. I try to stick to lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts…things like that. I think that if we eat the right foods then our bodies pretty much do most of the work. Our bodies burn a lot of calories just digesting the food we eat, so if you eat the things your body wants then it will actually help you burn fat on it's own.

  75. I don't think I have the man power to become a vegetarian. I tried it but didn't make it long without my meat. This is definitely something to think about. Thanks for your suggestions.

  76. It is simple to lose track of what you are eating, or how much your eating. You just ignore it and stuff food in your face as you please. Losing track of what your eating or not carrying can be very harmful to you and your body.

  77. Hi,

    I'd like to know which foods are good to eat without a lot of additives etc. As we all know what you put in makes a difference to how we feel and perform. The trouble is although I may be buying healthy food how do I know if it's full of chemicals. My job as a business coach demands that I perform at a high level so any advice is more than welcome…

  78. Congrats to you for hosting him. How did his presentation go? Michal Pollan is controversial with many in large-scale agriculture but quite popular with an ever-increasing public. His common sense approach to food has a ring of truth to it.

  79. I am a 50 year old who in the past 2 years has decided to change my diet and exercise habits as I enter my next "phase" of life. I am trying to adopt many of the prinicipals you list and feel I have more energy and probably look better than I did when I was in my 20's and 30's. My question is this, is it too late? Will these changes have a positive impact and help me avoid the diseases of the "western diet"? Thanks! Deb

  80. The best way to lose weight is to eat foods with a high nutritional value and to get to the gym regularly. Oh yeah, stop drinking so much that won't help either.

  81. A lot of people in the fitness industry are recommending variations of the paleo diet. Basically, it has people eating a lot of real foods and very little to no grains. On another note, someone mentioned in the comments above that a switch to organic farming would mean a lot of people would go hungry. I disagree (to an extent). A lot of the mass production farms all over the world send food back to the United States because our economy supports it. With how obese we are, I don't believe we have a food shortage issue in the US. A lot of companies might go out of business, but nobody here would starve. Now if those big business farms overseas switched to local organic farms, the malnourished communities might have a good source of food.

  82. Interesting. I personally salute him about his thoughts on eating habits. I’m sure we all owe Michael Pollan a great debt of gratitude for the way he has brought the evils of corporate agribusiness into the public eye.

    shakeology

  83. On another note, someone mentioned in the comments above that a switch to organic farming would mean a lot of people would go hungry. I disagree (to an extent). A lot of the mass production farms all over the world send food back to the United States because our economy supports it.

  84. I agree with the previous comments. Organic is the best way to go and it is untrue that people would go hungry living on organic food. The world would adapt and a burgeoning new economy would thrive all based around organic food.

  85. There is some sense in the comments that say that organic farming cannot feed the world. But this can change drastically, when organic farming becomes a norm rather than a niche, it will have more research budgets for it and that will ensure that we come up with processes and technology where the world can sustain both, organic farming and people's appetite.

  86. My name is Christy Lee and I'm a Health Journalist. I do believe that the organic farming is the way to go. And I'd also like to know which food is better for losing weight? From what I've heard green vegetables, grapefruit juice and an apple a day is a must. What could be the other diets that can really help?
    Kind Regards,
    Christy

  87. I am a Vegan and keeping in good health at 50. I believe that most of the illness such as cancer, diabetes, cardiac problems are man made. By sticking to natural vegan diet we can live a healthy life.

  88. I put a question mark after this one because it doesn't always work (and I personally avoid it as much as I can these days) – but there's nothing like lcd television controversy to get people commenting on your blog. Of course with controversy comes other consequences – one of which is the risk of putting off less vocal members of your readership.

  89. A thought provoking post. I think that 'Omnivore' says it all. A selection from all the food groups goes a long way to ensuring nutritional success. As for portion control? Just make sure that this doesn't translate into Go Big Eat!

  90. Hi.
    I have been a vegan for about three years now and have come across many opinions concerning how healthy it is, how sustainable it is and over-all whether it is "wrong" or "right."
    Just hoping you could share some of your own opinions concerning vegan/vegetarian lifestyles.
    Thx.

  91. Do you think the discipline required to stick to a vegetarian diet might aid in keeping a healthy weight? Do you think this discipline leads to a much healthier lifestyle, including exercising?

  92. Congrats to you for hosting him. How did his presentation go? Michal Pollan is controversial with many in large-scale agriculture but quite popular with an ever-increasing public. His common sense approach to food has a ring of truth to it.

  93. Other than being a vegan, another way is to really break your meals into smaller portion. Not eating at night helps too.

    Then, being a coffee lover, I would like to also correct the myth that coffee is not good for diet. It actually contains no calories if you do not put sweetener!

  94. Great post and the information is genuine as well. I have a question. What are your thoughts about coffee being a main part of the diet?
    Thanks

  95. My name is Jennifer and I'm a big fan of vegans, because I'm a health fanatic myself who enjoys working out and eating right. A great method that I found to be helpful with breaking your meals down is to start drinking plenty of water. Stay away from the coffee and energy drinks.

  96. I'm a freshman, and my family grows our own food here in the Midwest and transports them as well within a three state radius and we don't use those nasty chemicals either.

    Matt

  97. If farmers and consumers did what you suggest in your book. How could a Wisconsin farm couple make an actual living (health insurance, college tuition, etc.) on their farm without off-farm income, and how could a low-to-medium class Madison couple afford to feed a family of four?

  98. I'm a true believer in your diet playing a big role in the overcome of stress and anxiety. Even though it's pretty tough to stick to a regular diet, but you must remained focused and motivated if you ever want to see the results you want.

  99. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.

  100. Humans have lived for many thousands of years eating an omnivorous diet and have grown food organically. I say if it ain't broke don't fix it.

  101. How do we get back to a "slower" meal without putting unnecessary time for labor burdens on women? but have you ever considered exploring how we eat in regards to the sea? So many cultures and traditions are based around fishing, which seems to be collapsing by our practices.

  102. Having been misled by the smart marketing of food manufacturers, I'm learning to eat "right" again.

    I buy my veg, fruits and meat at the local market, usually from the same sellers whom I've known for many years.

    Their produce is so much fresher and tastier.

    More people should buy locally to support and sustain local farmers and their businesses.

  103. One thing is for sure it does take self discipline to lose your weight and keep healthy eating habits. Dieting never works for good if you just turn around and fill your body with junk afterwords. One of the best stress relievers i have is to go to the gym and blow off some steam.

  104. My name is Asmaria Miles, am an SEO worker, I work long hours per day, so I haven't have time to go to a gym or go for a jog, so I just do some yoga post, eat plenty of veges, fruits and I had drink pearl white too to regulate my excess stored fat in my body and flash out toxins in my digestive system too

  105. Omnivore is right, a selection from all the food groups goes a long way to ensuring nutritional success. As for portion control? Just make sure that this doesn't translate into Go Big Eat!

  106. Very interesting debate. I think everything in the world has it's place and people have the freedom to choose what foods they wish to eat. That is what makes us unique.

  107. Having eaten mainly raw organic vegan food for a long time now, I can only say tath for me personally I have never felt more energetic or vibrant. Neither do I expect anyone else to follow what I do.

  108. The increased amount of population is a concern that is greatly influencing farming techniques for third world countries. The risks involved with organic farming may not be worth the benefits that it brings because it could mean more people will go hungry.

  109. Do you think the discipline required to stick to a vegetarian diet might aid in keeping a healthy weight? Do you think this discipline leads to a much healthier lifestyle, including exercising?

  110. We lead very busy lives these days, which tends to limit our very choices when it comes to what we eat. On the other hand, there is so much contradictory information on health and diets in general so that paying too much attention to it all may lead to starvation. Eat moderately a mixture of all that this life abundantly provides for you and help the intelligence use the food appropriately by exercising and keeping your metabolism on the high.

  111. We, as a people should always take into consideration of our food intake and we should also focus on portion control as well. Remember, after all we are what we eat!

  112. It has to be said that having enough food to sustain a healthy life should be a basic human right and is to be defended at all costs.

  113. Reading your book prompted me to change the way I eat. Now I only eat meat that is local and organic, as well as local produce, but I have not been able to wean myself off of coffee. Madison, obviously, does not have the climate to farm coffee beans. I feel bad about drinking coffee because of the amount of miles is takes to to be imported, but I'm addicted. The majority of the coffee I drink is fair trade. Do you think fair trade very sustainable? What is your take on it?

  114. I am just wondering why so many people are becoming obsessed with weight loss? What important is having a healthy and balance life. You can lose weight by eating small portions of food. It's all about discipline as well.

  115. have been following ur site for 3 days. really love what you posted. by the way i am conducting a research concerning this issue. do you know any good blogs or online forums where I can get more? many thanks.

  116. My wife has Fibromyalgia and we discovered that her diet makes a big difference in the way she feels. If she does more like the Atkins diet she feels better without the carbs.

  117. My name is Kim Bell, I recently watched a rerun of the PBS premier of "Botany of Desire" at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Do you have plans in the works for future documentaries based on your other books or perhaps on PolyFace Farms? Andrea Jones, Eater of Food!

  118. Micheal! As usual you have been doing a great job indeed. Keep it on. You are helping different people by solving their needs and helping them out from different problems. Good luck

  119. My question that I would love to hear more about is: what role do you see for GMO foods, if at all, in the longevity of the natural diversity of our foods? It seems that too many changes are being put into an already complex receipe of life. Would love to hear!

  120. The golden rule of losing weight is that you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming. Don’t look for fast fixes. Make weight loss and maintenance more of a lifestyle change. It’s OK to lose weight “gradually and steadily” because crash diets often lead to less success.

  121. Keeping fit and doing regular exercise are also key factors to keep weight under control, this is especially true when the normal working habit is to sit at a desk 9 to 5 days a week, but seems so hard for many people to stick to a self training routine due other factors in their lifestyes.

  122. Thanks for all the work that you do Michael, I've read your book and it has been instrumental in giving nutritional advice to my clients, family and friends.

  123. Knowing what food to eat and how it affects you can seriously help. Now you will know how to keep fit, I've learn a lot from it. I also learned a lot from the comments you have received. Thank you.

  124. I love Michael Pollan – he makes eating so simple and takes away the confusion all the big companies try to throw at you. Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not too much. —- Genius!

  125. I enjoyed watching the PBS premier of "Botany of Desire" at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Do you have plans in the works for future documentaries based on your other books or perhaps on PolyFace Farms? Andrea Jones, Eater of Food!

  126. If farmers and consumers did what you suggest in your book. How could a farm couple make an actual living (health insurance, college tuition, etc.) on their farm without off-farm income, and how could a low-to-medium class Madison couple afford to feed a family of four? — Sebastian, Orange County.

  127. I have been a vegetarian for 16 years and I'm currently trying to start eating meat again for health reasons. Unless you are really careful with your vegetarian diet you can lose out on lots of vital nutrients that will do your bosy harm. Everyone thinks that vegetarianism and being healthy are synonymous, it has definitely not been the case with me.

  128. If farmers and consumers did what you suggest in your book. How could a farm couple make an actual living (health insurance, college tuition, etc.) on their farm without off-farm income, and how could a low-to-medium class Madison couple afford to feed a family of four? — Sebastian, Orange County.

  129. In response to an above post, as a practicing Vegan, while it's important to be on top of what you eat to ensure you get proper nutrients in your diet, it can lead to a much healthier lifestyle overall. I was very overweight before becoming first a Vegetarian and then a Vegan, but after becoming both it really helped me understand food and how they shaped out bodies and fueled us.

  130. CALS grad here… Pollan is highly critical of synthetic fertilizers, yet to replace those nutrients, Nobel Prize winning Professor Norman Borlaug (recently deceased) estimates that it would take the manure of an additional 5 billion cows. My question, to all of you is how do you propose we replace the essential fertilizers currently used and how does that affect the carbon footprint.

  131. Hi,

    I'd like to know which foods are good to eat without a lot of additives etc. As we all know what you put in makes a difference to how we feel and perform. The trouble is although I may be buying healthy food how do I know if it's full of chemicals. My job as a business coach demands that I perform at a high level so any advice is more than welcome…

  132. thanks for your information your information might be very helpful for the SEO peoples. with your information anyone can get the good ranking thanks for your information.

  133. My brother suggested I might like this website. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  134. What I want to know is why you didnt think to include the other side of this issue? There are so many things that youre missing here that I dont see how you could actually form an intelligent opinion on the subject. Its like you didnt even consider that there me be another side here. Im kind of disappointed.

  135. To attain food security we can be aware of the food we eat and not waste so much of it, hunger is a major issue worldwide, if we do not waste they could be fed.

  136. this defense of food is really interesting topic i am 19year old boy that live's in philippines. i have a plenty question every time i heard a food topic. does the poor country deserves hunger? or is that their fault to born in that way?? i'm really concern to those people. while they are suffering. all the rich and powerful person get all the benefit of money. is there a way to stop this kind of trend? or do you believe that its not our fault to born poor and dirty, it will be our fault when we die wretched.

  137. I have been a vegetarian for 16 years and I'm currently trying to start eating meat again for health reasons. Unless you are really careful with your vegetarian diet you can lose out on lots of vital nutrients that will do your bosy harm. Everyone thinks that vegetarianism and being healthy are synonymous, it has definitely not been the case with me.

  138. Hi. I just want to ask when will be the next lecture of Michael Pollan? He is such a great speaker and I am very interested to attend in his lectures in the future.

  139. A lot of people are keeping their interest on partaking the right kind and amount of food. This would surely be a great attempt to gather insights from others.

  140. CALS grad here… Pollan is highly critical of synthetic fertilizers, yet to replace those nutrients, Nobel Prize winning Professor Norman Borlaug (recently deceased) estimates that it would take the manure of an additional 5 billion cows. My question, to all of you is how do you propose we replace the essential fertilizers currently used and how does that affect the carbon footprint.

  141. Sorry, not a student here, but I caught the same lecture at Stanford Univeristy. To anyone who has an opportunity to hear Michael Pollan speak, make time to attend. It will be well worth your time!

    Wish we could see some responses on this page to the questions raised.

  142. In your book you recommend that people spend more time and money on their eating in order to get on track with a healthier eating regimen.

    What would you recommend for people who might be fussy eaters or won't eat raw, steamed or fried vegetables (healthy frying)?

    Thanks
    Matt From Best Weight Loss Programs

  143. CALS grad here… Pollan is highly critical of synthetic fertilizers, yet to replace those nutrients, Nobel Prize winning Professor Norman Borlaug (recently deceased) estimates that it would take the manure of an additional 5 billion cows. My question, to all of you is how do you propose we replace the essential fertilizers currently used and how does that affect the carbon footprint.

  144. I'd like to know which foods are good to eat without a lot of additives etc. As we all know what you put in makes a difference to how we feel and perform. The trouble is although I may be buying healthy food how do I know if it's full of chemicals.

    Thanks